Tribunal Members

Member Appointments

Pursuant to section 6 of the Specific Claims Tribunal Act, SC 2008, c 22, the Tribunal shall consist of no more than six full-time members; or any number of part-time members, or combination of full-time and part-time members, so long as the combined time devoted to their functions and duties does not exceed the combined time that would be devoted by six full-time members. The Governor in Council shall establish a roster of six to 18 superior court judges to act as members of the Tribunal. The Chairperson and other members may be appointed from the roster by the Governor in Council. Each member shall be appointed for a term not exceeding five years and holds office so long as he or she remains a superior court judge. Each member, on the expiry of the first term of office, is eligible to be reappointed for one further term. 

A judge who has ceased to be a member for any reason other than removal may, with the authorization of the Chairperson, perform and complete any outstanding functions or duties within a period of 120 days after ceasing to be a member. 

Current Members

The Honourable Victoria R. Chiappetta, Chairperson

Justice Victoria Chiappetta was born in Sault Ste. Marie. She earned a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Law School in 1993 and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in Toronto in November 2012.

Prior to her appointment, Justice Chiappetta served as Vice President, Legal and General Counsel, for Essar Steel Algoma (now Algoma Steel). She remains the only woman to hold a position on the steel company’s executive. From 1995 to 2007, Justice Chiappetta served a number of legal firms across Ontario. Her main areas of practice were corporate law, civil litigation, environmental law, labour law, and human rights.

As a member of the Superior Court, Justice Chiappetta has a breadth of experience adjudicating in civil, family, and commercial courts. Her most recent position was overseeing commercial list matters. Justice Chiappetta has been a Deputy Judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice since December 2017, where she has assisted the territory and its history of judicial excellence.

Justice Chiappetta has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Canadian Italian Advocates Organization and the Legal Advisory Committee of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. She frequently lectures on legal matters at the University of Toronto and has been a contributing writer for Influential Women of Northern Ontario and Canada Law Book. 

On June 22, 2019, Justice Chiappetta was appointed as a full-time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal for a term of five years. On December 11, 2020, she was appointed Chairperson for a term of five years.

The Honourable William G. E. Grist

Justice William Grist studied at the University of British Columbia and completed a Bachelors of Commerce in 1973 and LLB in 1974. He was called to the Bar of British Columbia in June of 1975 and articled at Griffith Mclelland & Company. From 1976-78, Justice Grist was employed at the British Columbia Legal Aid Society. Justice Grist was a partner at the law firm Rempel Kaye & Company in Chilliwack, British Columbia from 1980-89. 

Justice Grist was appointed a British Columbia Supreme Court Master in January of 1990 and was later appointed to the British Columbia Supreme Court in June 1996. 

Currently, Justice Grist is a Supernumerary Judge at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Chilliwack, British Columbia. He was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal for a term of two years on May 18, 2016. He was re-appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal, as a part-time member, for a term beginning on May 18, 2018 and ending on September 5, 2022.

The Honourable Paul Mayer

Justice Paul Mayer was named a judge of the superior court in June 2008.

He graduated with a B.A. (honours) in history from Trent University in 1979, a B.C.L. and LL.B. from McGill University in 1983 and a doctorate in international and community law from the faculty of law and political science of Aix-Marseilles in 1985.

Admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1986, he practiced law with Lafleur, Brown, de Grandpré from 1986 to 1987, and with Fasken Martineau from 1988 to 2008. He became a partner in 1997. He specialized in real estate law.

He taught a course on commercial leases at the faculties of law of University of Montreal (1993) and McGill University (1995-1999).

He was recognized as a first-rank practitioner of commercial lease law with the mention “repeatedly recommended” by the Canadian legal directory, l’Expert.

He was also active in the area of real estate brokerage, having acted as the secretary of the Quebec Real Estate Brokers and Agents Association (OACIQ) from 1991 to 1994. He was also the chairman of the Board of the real estate brokerage indemnity fund from 2005 to 2008.

In November 2006, he was appointed the Senior Ministerial Representative of the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development with respect to the issue of Nunavut devolution. The Mayer Report on this topic was published in June 2007. He continued to act in this matter until his appointment to the bench.

On May 18, 2016, Justice Mayer was appointed to a two-year term as a part time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal. He was re-appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal, as a part-time member, for a five-year term beginning on May 18, 2018 and ending on May 18, 2023.

The Honourable Todd Ducharme

Justice Todd Ducharme has a B.A. from McGill University, an M.A. from Yale University, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School.

Justice Ducharme was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario in May 2004 and sits in Toronto. He has since been appointed a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, the Supreme Court of Yukon, and the Nunavut Court of Justice. With the Superior Court of Justice, he has worked primarily on the Criminal Law and Divisional Court teams. Prior to his appointment as a judge, he was a criminal lawyer doing primarily defence work. He also worked as a standing agent for the Attorney General of Canada, conducting prosecutions under various federal statutes, and was as well the first Clinic Director of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

A proud Métis, Justice Ducharme was active in Toronto’s Indigenous community and was a member of the Boards of Native Child and Family Services and Anishnawbe Health Toronto. He served as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada for six years and was active in numerous other professional organizations.

On April 13, 2021, Justice Ducharme was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal as a part-time member for a term of five years.

The Honourable Diane MacDonald

Justice Diane MacDonald earned her Bachelor of Arts from Simon Fraser University and her Bachelor of Laws from Dalhousie University. After articling with Alexander Holburn Beaudin and Lang LLP, she completed a Ph.D. (with distinction) in law and public policy at Northeastern University. Justice MacDonald practiced law for almost 25 years prior to being appointed a Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court in 2018. On the Court she has adjudicated numerous civil, criminal and family law disputes.

Prior to her appointment, Justice MacDonald’s focus was in the areas of labour law, constitutional law and human rights. She first practiced with Victory Square Law Office in Vancouver and subsequently with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation as General Counsel. She acted as legal counsel before arbitrators, administrative tribunals, professional disciplinary bodies, and at all levels of court. In 2014, Justice MacDonald acted as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada on a s. 15 Charter case, successfully arguing for substantive equality for women claiming pregnancy and parental benefits. In 2016, Justice MacDonald again acted as counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada on a successful Charter case. The case involved freedom of association under s. 2(d) of the Charter, and government’s duty to consult in good faith.

As a lawyer, Justice MacDonald was a frequent speaker on workplace, human rights and constitutional issues. She also provided policy advice to provincial and federal task forces on labour law reform.

Justice MacDonald has Métis and Scottish ancestry.

On April 19, 2022, Justice MacDonald was appointed as a part-time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal for a term of five years.


Code of Conduct

Purpose

  1. All members of the Specific Claims Tribunal (Tribunal), including the Chairperson, are superior court judges. As such, they are subject to the Judges Act, RSC 1985, c J - 1 .
  2. By virtue of their appointment to the Tribunal by the Governor in Council, Tribunal members are also subject to the Conflict of Interest Act, SC 2006, c 9, s 2.
  3. This Code of Conduct (the Code) is meant to complement the requirements in the above-noted instruments by providing guidance on appropriate standards of conduct that pertain specifically to Tribunal members.
  4. The requirements of the Code support the Tribunal’s commitment to provide fair, transparent, and efficient proceedings.

Application and General Disposition

  1. The Code applies to all full-time and part-time Tribunal members.
  2. The Chairperson is accountable for the administration of the Code, including any matters pertaining to its interpretation.
  3. Tribunal members are expected to advise the Chairperson of any situation or conduct that conflicts with the Code without delay.

Principles Guiding the Conduct for Tribunal Members

  1. Tribunal members are expected to protect and promote the spirit of reconciliation that is at the heart of the Tribunal’s purpose. To do so, they must act honestly, in good faith, and in a professional and ethical manner.
  2. Tribunal members will require similar conduct from all those present at hearings, case management conferences and other events, and try to ensure that these events are held in an orderly and efficient manner.
  3. Tribunal members will not commit or condone unethical or illegal acts or encourage any individual to do so.

Collegiality

  1. Tribunal members will conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner with the Chairperson, other Tribunal members and all appearing before or otherwise interacting with the Tribunal.
  2. Tribunal members are also expected to conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner with public servants (staff) from the Administrative Tribunals Support Service of Canada (ATSSC) who are providing support services to the Tribunal. Without limiting the foregoing, this includes:
    • interacting with staff during normal business hours;
    • respecting the requirements imposed to staff by the Treasury Board of Canada and the ATSSC as their employer;
    • requiring staff to only perform duties covered by their work description and allowed by their collective bargaining agreements; and,
    • consulting staff on their availability before scheduling hearings, case management conferences and other events.
  3. Tribunal members are responsible for maintaining a high level of professional competence and expertise by participating in Tribunal meetings and training activities.

Decisions

  1. Tribunal members are expected to render decisions in an independent, impartial, and objective manner without regard to partisan or special interests, or fear of criticism.
  2. Tribunal members are responsible for the accuracy, quality, and correctness of their decisions.
  3. Tribunal members are expected to strive to render decisions in a timely manner.

Security and Protection of Confidential Information

  1. Tribunal members shall make every effort to protect the confidentiality of information contained in documents in their possession. Tribunal members are expected to respect the privacy of individuals by ensuring that decisions contain only the personal information that is necessary.
  2. Tribunal members will respect the Government of Canada’s Policy on Government Security and will not put themselves or any individual interacting with the Tribunal at risk of physical or emotional harm.
  3. Tribunal members shall immediately report any breach or potential breach of privacy or security to the Chairperson and the Tribunal’s Executive Director so that it can be dealt with in a timely manner.

Information Technology

  1. Tribunal members must ensure acceptable and efficient use of the Government of Canada’s electronic network and devices.

Communications

  1. Unless authorized by the Chairperson, Tribunal members are not authorized to communicate with any news media about matters relating to the work of the Tribunal or any other matter that may affect the Tribunal or create a reasonable apprehension of bias.
  2. Tribunal members shall not publicly make a comment or express an opinion regarding the work of the Tribunal, their own duties and caseload, or any other matter that may affect the Tribunal or create a reasonable apprehension of bias.
  3. Tribunal members shall use good judgment when posting comments on social media. Tribunal members must be mindful that their comments could reflect negatively on the Tribunal.

Gifts

  1. Tribunal members shall not accept gifts or other advantages from persons who interact with the Tribunal unless it is received as an expression of courtesy or protocol and is of a nominal value lower than $200.

Honourable Victoria Chiappetta, Chairperson
Specific Claims Tribunal